Trash the Runway® aims to propel young people toward environmental and social responsibility and to inspire their confidence, creativity, and critical thinking skills for the benefit of the greater good. This hands-on workshop and design competition, run by the Creative Lab at Common Threads in Boulder, is now in its 12th year. The process challenges middle and high school students to examine the social, environmental and ecological issues of consumer culture by upcycling and repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in local landfills.

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Consider This...

  • The fashion industry is the fourth most polluting industry in the world and 20% of industrial water pollution worldwide comes from treating and dying textiles.
  • Fabrics made from petroleum products, like acrylic, polyester or spandex, release greenhouse gases during the production process and take up to 1,000 years to break down in a landfill.
  • Textile production is water intensive. Cotton is the most common natural fiber used to make clothing. It takes 700 gallons of water to create enough cotton for one t-shirt.
  • Each year, the average American discards over 80 pounds of textiles and clothing into the landfill.
  • Clothing can be reused, repurposed or recycled. Extending the life of a garment diminishes its environmental impact. 

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To learn about how you can shop ethically and locally, explore the unCover Handbook created by CU Alumna Ana Bogusky.

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About Common Threads and The Creative Lab

Founded in 2007 by Libby Alexander, Common Threads is a unique fashion marketplace where people come together to create, collect, and consign. The Creative Lab in Boulder offers a range of classes, from sewing basics and summer camps to the wildly popular Trash the Runway™ fashion show and competition.

Images by Dylan Crossley Photography